"We think that in a free country, candidates decide what goes in their materials, and not a government bureaucrat."
How high-minded, even if it isn't true. I guess Pierre forgot about the part where the candidates actually didn't decide:
"Conservative candidates and their official agents knew next to nothing about election advertising that their campaigns had helped pay for, Elections Canada discovered during its probe of the party's in-and-out financing scheme.
They scratched their heads trying to recall details of the ad-buying arrangement orchestrated by the party's headquarters. Several simply remember Conservative officials telling them money would land in their accounts, cash that must be swiftly returned to Ottawa."
"Candidates decide what goes into their materials"? Hmmm:
"In the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan, for example, Conservative candidate Norm Snowden was in a tough fight against NDP incumbent Jean Crowder. Mr. Snowden's campaign, along with other Conservative campaigns on Vancouver Island, had received the request from national headquarters to consider participating in the "in-and-out" proposal.
Mr. Snowden's campaign sent $8,089.20 to the national office for the ads which would be seen by Mr. Snowden's potential voters. Next door, the Conservative campaign in Esquimalt, running against incumbent Keith Martin, sent in $9,999.15.
But the ads that the national party bought and placed in the Vancouver Island market were anti-Liberal ads. Mr. Snowden's campaign was furious. They weren't fighting the Liberals in Nanaimo-Cowichan, they were fighting the NDP. To them, the $8,000 they'd sent to national headquarters was a waste of money they could have spent on local ads attacking Ms. Crowder."
You know what? It's time for Conservatives to just accept some blame here, own up to pushing the envelope and take their lumps. I can't listen to "ankle biters" (h/t knb) like Poilievre employ the scorched earth defence, wherein the only option is too cast doubt on institutions that form the foundation of our democracy. Elections Canada isn't biased, anyone with any objectivity can see that their evidence of a co-ordinated scheme to circumvent the election laws for partisan advantage is sound. Other parties didn't do the same thing, because there is only one party under investigation, only one party engaged in this technique, only one party who's own MP's were concerned about the practice, only one party who presented doctored documentation.
Isn't it ironic, that at the exact same moment in history that Harper's Conservatives were telling Canadians that we needed a return to honest, ethical government, they were in fact "cheating" for their own self-interest, laying waste to fundamental fairness. Even worse, some of those ads on accountability, that people across the country viewed, where actually the by-product of unethical behavior. Dishonest behavior to tell Canadians they were honest.
Put a sock in it Pierre.